Thursday June 14 2012
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Maturation Issues in Girls

So your daughter wants to play sports – with the boys! This issue confronts parents more and more commonly these days. The passing of Title IX in 1972 dictated that schools must provide equal opportunities for both boys and girls in sports participation.

Most schools have attempted to meet this requirement by providing an equal number of sports with some gender-specific differences. Boys get football; girls get field hockey.

This concept of “equal but different” has not been a satisfactory answer for many athletically ambitious young girls, who have decided that if it is good enough for the boys, it is good enough for them. So what do you need to know before you send your daughter blasting around the end on a pee-wee wishbone option? A few simple facts can make you much more comfortable with the idea of your young girl playing “boys” sports.

Up until the age of puberty, boys and girls have fairly comparable rates of growth, maturation and development. Studies demonstrate that girls and boys have equal lower extremity power and strength until about age 12-14. Scientific research has shown repeatedly that boys and girls of similar weight can compete equally in many sports, even those involving significant physical contact like hockey. Because girls begin puberty earlier than boys, from ages 9-14 the differing rates of growth dictate that many girls are taller and outweigh boys of the same age. This often gives girls an advantage in specific sports like basketball where height is of obvious value.

Contrary to popular belief, girls are not more prone to injury than boys. Although the types of injuries they incur may differ, boys and girls have equal injury rates for equal training.

After puberty, the rapid acceleration in height, muscle mass, and weight gain in adolescent boys causes a significant divergence in physical capacity from girls of the same age. At this point the decision to allow your daughter to compete in certain sports becomes much more difficult, and should be based upon her specific physical abilities.

We are supportive of any activity that encourages your child to play and enjoy sports participation. Sports are a great outlet for the boundless energy children possess.

Children who participate in sports have greater self-esteem, increased socialization, and do better in school. We hope to see you, and your daughter, on the field!
 

We often hear coaches talk about how honest and open communication with their players helps to build a strong team. If players know their roles, they can perform at their highest possible levels of their genetic potential.
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